Here’s How Bloomberg Newsers Are Covering the Boss’ Presidential Campaign

By A.J. Katz Comment

Michael Bloomberg has officially entered the 2020 presidential race, a move that is putting his company’s news division in a tough spot.

“No previous presidential candidate has owned a journalistic organization of this size,” Bloomberg editor in chief John Micklethwait wrote in a Sunday morning memo to staff.

“For weeks, Bloomberg News’s top editors have wrestled with how they could fairly report on their boss if he decided to run while being fair to his political rivals,” as the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi wrote.

The memo:

Micklewait states: “We will describe who is winning and who is losing. We will look at policies and their consequences. We will carry polls, we will interview candidates and we will track their campaigns, including Mike’s. We have already assigned a reporter to follow his campaign (just as we did when Mike was in City Hall). And in the stories we write on the presidential contest, we will make clear that our owner is now a candidate.”

The company is shutting down its editorial board during the boss’ presidential run. In fact, two of its executive editors from the opinion side, including (now former) MSNBC contributor Tim O’Brien, are joining Bloomberg’s campaign.

Here’s where it gets tricky: Bloomberg News covered Bloomberg while he was New York’s mayor, but the news division did not perform investigations on him. The company says it will continue that tradition during his presidential run, and won’t investigate other Democratic candidates either.

The “report but not investigate” theme has also been the case when it comes to competitors Reuters and CNBC.

“We cannot treat Mike’s Democratic competitors differently from him. If other credible journalistic institutions publish investigative work on Mike or the other Democratic candidates, we will either publish those articles in full, or summarize them for our readers — and we will not hide them,” Micklethait wrote.

However, regarding Pres. Trump, Bloomberg’s Projects and Investigations team will, “for the moment,” continue to investigate the Trump administration, “as the government of the day,” adding, “If Mike is chosen as the Democratic presidential candidate (and Donald Trump emerges as the Republican one), we will reassess how we do that.”

Chief content officer Marty Schenker would “take special responsibility for overseeing our news coverage” of Bloomberg and fellow Democratic candidates.

One former high-profile Bloomberg Newser has given her two cents about the predicament the news division finds itself in. Former Businessweek editor Megan Murphy tweets:

 

Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign will primarily be media-driven. He’s a well-known figure in the northeast and among media and financial types, but is not as well-known in many parts of the country and is entering the race on the later side. Ad buys will most certainly be a significant part of his campaign. In fact, he has reportedly spent at least $31 million for TV over 25 markets, including in Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Michigan.

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